Center Policies & Procedures

View the entire Child Development Center Family Handbook (PDF)

Arrival/Departure Times

The toddler & two-year-old classrooms (rooms 1 & 2) begin at 8:30 a.m. and end at 11:30 a.m.  Children are dropped off between 8:15 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. and are picked up between 11:15 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. The preschool classrooms begin at 8:45 a.m. and end at 11:45 a.m (room 3) and 12:00 p.m. (rooms 4 & 5). Children are dropped off between 8:30 a.m. and 8:45am and are picked up between 11:30 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. (room 3) and 11:45 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. (rooms 4 & 5) unless they are staying for extended day. Early care starting at 7:30 a.m. is available for students with classes during those times or faculty and staff working on campus.  Extended day programming has a flexible pick-up beginning at 2:30 p.m.

Since we do not offer drop-in care, it is important for children to arrive and depart on time. Difficulty in complying with the classroom schedule may result in a loss of placement.  Parents are encouraged to discuss individual scheduling difficulties with your child's teacher, the Office Specialist, or the Center Director.

Parents may park in the parking spaces in front of the Center ONLY for drop-off or pick-up of children. For longer periods of time, please see the front desk for a temporary parking pass for the student lots.  All families should enter at the front door and proceed to their designated classroom. 

/Out Procedures

An adult must always accompany a child into the Center and sign him/her into the classroom on the sign-in sheet near the classroom door.  For Licensing requirements, you must sign your full name.  At pick-up time, the child must be signed out on the same sheet.  Children will not be released to anyone other than a parent or other person(s) designated in writing by the custodial parent(s) on the Emergency Information Sheet.

Certified custody orders must be provided to the Center Director prior to enrollment.  Any changes in custody orders must be provided to the Child Development Center immediately.  A release form must be on file at the Center Office, specifying who is to drop-off and pick-up child(ren) each day. Photo ID's are required of all individuals not known to Center staff.  No child will be released to an individual not specified on this form by the custodial parent.

Daily Schedule

All curricular areas are included in the daily/weekly plan  --  arts and creative expression, music and movement, math and science, physical and outdoor activities, language and literature. A healthy snack is served in all classroom sessions.  Each classroom will post a copy of their Daily Schedule as well as their Snack Schedule for parents and visitors to review.

Each class session includes child-selected play time where children structure their own activity as well as teacher-directed times such as large and small groups. The Classroom Calendar is posted or distributed each month.  It lists special events, share days and school holidays. Our Child Development Center program follows the College calendar. The current college class schedule determines the start and end dates and holidays for each semester.

The Center is open for childcare from 7:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.  Minimum attendance for any child is two sessions per week.  Children must minimally attend the entire scheduled three-hour class session each day, as the Center limits transitions and does not provide hourly or drop-in care. Student parents are encouraged to use any available time on campus beyond their classes for organization and study.

Programming Options

Rooms 1 & 2
(entry at ages 18-30 months)
Rooms 3, 4 & 5
(entry at ages 2.7-5.0 years)
Morning Program 8:30 a.m. -11:30 a.m. 8:45 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. (Room 3)
8:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (Rooms 4 & 5)
Extended Day Program Not Available 8:45 am – 4:45 p.m.

* Early care beginning at 7:30 a.m. is available only for students with classes during those times. Extended day programming includes a flexible pick-up beginning at 2:30 p.m.


If your child is attending extended day, he/she is required by State law to rest. Please bring a light blanket to leave at school. It can be taken home once a week for washing.  The Center provides mats and individual sheets (laundered weekly).

Parent Involvement

The Child Development Center has an open-door policy and invites all parents to observe their child at play through each classroom's observation window.  Please feel free to make use of these booths at any time, though plan to use campus long-term parking lots for this purpose (rather than curbside parking in front of the Center).  No children are allowed in the booths for safety reasons (babes-in-arms are the exceptions).  Please do not use the booths for socializing.  Students use the booths to observe the children to fulfill classroom assignments. Parents wishing to socialize with one another are requested to do so in the reception area after signing their child in or out of the classroom. Responsibility for your child is yours once you have signed him/her out at the end of a session.

We hold a variety of parent/teacher and family functions each year and we invite everyone to attend. These include classroom breakfasts and picnics, open houses, informational meetings (on such topics an language development, early learning, discipline, and kindergarten transition).  Look for individual notices throughout the school year. Individual parent/teacher conferences are scheduled each semester (and as requested) to discuss children’s developmental and academic progress.  Please make it a habit of checking the notices posted on the Communication Board outside the door to your child's classroom and in your family's individual mailbox, located adjacent to your child's classroom door.

The Child Development Center works in conjunction with various community agencies supporting parent/professional partnerships, including but not limited to parent education and information.

Health & Safety

Preschool is for well children.  The supervising teacher may exclude any child who appears ill.  We expect you will call the office when your child must stay home due to illness and advise us of any contagious condition.  The direct number to the office is (760) 795-6656.

Please know we act in the best interests of the children and families we serve, and check all children to be sure they are well each morning upon arrival at school. You may NOT bring your child to school when:

Your child must be symptom free without medication for 24 hours before returning to school.  If your child becomes ill at the center, you or a designated person will be called to pick up your child. Ill children should be picked up within thirty (30) minutes after notification to parent or authorized person. Failure to do so repeatedly can result in cancellation of program services.  It is imperative we have current contact information on file, both for yourself and for individuals authorized to drop off/pick up your child.  Please ensure that your emergency contact list includes at least two (2) individuals who are available and within reach to contact in the case of an emergency.  If the parent(s) or guardian(s) do not answer their phone, we will leave a message stating we are calling the next person on the emergency list and will proceed down the list until we contact someone with authority to pick up your child and take him or her to be seen by a doctor.

If your child had an unknown rash or other unidentifiable symptoms, they must be symptom free or have a doctor's clearance before returning to school. It is your responsibility to find alternate care for your child when he/she is sick.

First-aid will be administered for minor injuries.  An Accident Report will be completed and parents will be notified. Our standard recommendation will be that the child be seen by his or her family doctor as soon as possible.  In the case of a head injury of any kind, our policy is to call the parent.  We also provide a handout on the signs and symptoms to watch for with a head injury.   In any situation that is beyond our first aid/CPR training, College Police will be called to dispatch the school nurse for a professional evaluation. 

We conduct fire drills and evacuation drills once a semester.  The children are told to listen for the fire bell and then proceed to a designated outdoor meeting place, which is in front of the Center for fire drills or to evacuation area # 10 for disaster drills. College Police assists with traffic control during our drills.  We also conduct earthquake drills once per semester where children practice drop, cover and hold.  Please note the location of fire extinguishers throughout the building and refer to the Center Evacuation Plans posted at each exit door for specific evacuation routes.


In the necessity for the administration of incidental medical services, such as Epi-Pen, Inhalers or Nebulizers, the following requirements will be met:


For staff to administer any OTC medication, parents must complete a “Release to Administer Medication” form to keep on file.  OTC medications include diaper rash creams or sunscreen.


We expect and understand that young children may have a hard time separating from their parents (and vice-versa!). The staff is trained in making this transition as easy as possible for both the child and the parent. We ask parents to say a prompt, friendly goodbye and establish (and maintain) a consistent "separation ritual" to help children make an easier separation. Parents can then observe their child in the observation booth. If you have any concerns about separation, please feel free to discuss them with your child's supervising teacher and/or the Center Director.


Transition to group care can be a challenge for some young children, and teachers will remind each child to use the toilet when necessary. Individual differences will be accounted for within this process. Some children may need more time than others to fully manage this transition.  As accidents will happen, particularly in the first few weeks of school, please be sure to provide extra underwear and a change of clothes in your child's cubby. 

None of our classrooms require children to be toilet trained. Toilet training is a part of growing up. We will be happy to work with you and your child in this process. We ask that you please make sure your child has plenty of diapers in his/her cubby. If we inform you that we used a school diaper, please bring a replacement diaper the next time your child comes to school. Pull-ups are difficult for changing, so please use regular diapers. Parents are asked to bring a box of baby wipes to keep in your child's cubby. Before transitioning your child from diapers to underwear, please speak with your child's supervising teacher.

Discipline & Limit Setting

The Child Development Center's approach to discipline and conflict resolution is grounded in a respect for children, the development of self-esteem and the building of problem-solving skills. Using affirming guidance and positive direction, teachers help children understand the limits of appropriate behavior in a classroom setting. Interventions are focused on helping children understand the consequences of their behavior, reminding them of acceptable alternatives (walk instead of run) and redirection. The goal is to help children build self-control and develop autonomy. Punitive disciplinary measures, such as scolding, corporal punishment or isolated time-out are unacceptable and inappropriate.

In solving interpersonal conflicts, Supervising Teachers guide children in recognizing each other's needs and point of view and in coming up with acceptable, workable ideas to solve the problem. The goal is to help children develop the skills to be successful social negotiators and to rely on non-violent means of resolving their conflicts. It is important to give children an opportunity to problem-solve on their own. By jumping in too soon with the solution, adults teach children to rely more on adult authority than their own resourcefulness in solving problems.

As the Center's goal is to promote the physical and emotional well being of each child in our care, situations consistently endangering a child or children will not be permitted.  Children who consistently engage in such behaviors are subject to discontinued enrollment (with reimbursement made for any paid days remaining in that month).

School Clothing

Please dress your child in play clothes in which he/she can feel free to get dirty, as we regularly engage in wet and messy activities.

Backless or slick-soled shoes are inappropriate for school. We do allow children to remove their shoes while playing either inside the classroom or outside on the playground. If you wish for your child to keep their shoes on, please let us know. Shoes must remain on while riding any moving vehicles or equipment (such as bicycles, wagons, etc).

It is a good idea to bring along a sweater or jacket on all but the hottest days. Our playground can be windy and cool, and part of each day will be spent outside. Also, please dress your child in clothes that are easy for him to manage. Remember to label all clothing with your child’s name.

Each child is assigned a personal cubby space for his/her use. Please bring a change of clothes for your child to keep in this cubby (and check regularly so replacements are on hand).  All clothes should be marked with your child’s name.  Occasionally (when a needed change of clothing is unavailable), we may share clothing from our school supply.  Please be sure to launder and return all school clothing to your child's teacher.

Food Policies

A nutritious snack is served during each class session and the menu is posted bi-weekly. Parents desiring to bring a snack to celebrate a birthday are invited to do so. Please consult your child's classroom teacher for suggestions (Note: Sweets are not acceptable).

Extended day programming in the preschool classrooms is primarily for those children whose parents are in class during this time or staff working on campus.  Parents are responsible for providing their child's lunch each day they attend.  Your child must have a nutritious lunch consisting of a protein food such as a meat/cheese/egg sandwich, finger vegetables or fresh fruit instead of chips; a drink of milk (not chocolate), real fruit juice or water. Please, no sugared drinks such as Kool-Aid or drinks which are not 100% juice. Sweets are not acceptable.  Due to the increasing risk of life-threatening allergies, parents are asked to not include ANY nut products or shellfish in their children's lunches.

A policy prohibiting the use of food for play, e.g. rice in the sand table, macaroni for collage, potatoes for printing, etc. has been established at the Child Development Center on ethical grounds. It is a concern that such use of food does three undesirable things: (1) wastes food; (2) teaches children that having abundance allows one to waste; and (3) encourages children to be insensitive to the needs of others. Some acceptable uses include using flour to make playdough, planting beans and seeds and preparing foods for snack.

Items from home

Please leave toys, books, etc. at home.  In the past, we have found that most young children like to bring things from home but may not like other children to use them.  We therefore ask that you do not bring any personal items from home (for our youngest children, exceptions can be made for "transition objects" such as a special blanket, etc., though bottles and pacifiers are not allowed on the classroom floor). In the preschool classes, Share Days may be scheduled periodically during the semester.  On these days, toys and appropriate objects from home are welcome (your teacher will provide additional information).

Holidays and Other Celebrations

The population at the Child Development Center is diverse and multicultural, bringing a wonderful richness to everyone's experiences.  The Child Development Center is a place where adults and children from any background can feel comfortable, welcome and respected.  Holidays from a variety of cultures are a valuable way of recognizing the similarities and uniqueness of different cultures, for example the use of food, dress, crafts and/or songs in the celebration, while also appreciating the diversity in the forms these aspects take.

In order to benefit the most from recognizing a variety of holidays, Supervising Teachers are asked to consider the following in the planning of related activities:

Supervising Teachers also routinely solicit the help of the parents of the children in their class who are from different cultures and ask them to share information and resources about their culture's holidays and ideas for activities that would be appropriate for the children.  Such information can be incorporated within the universal aspects of traditional American holidays.

Note:  As examples of this policy, here at the Center we do not dress in costumes for Halloween (though we may do face-painting), and we do not bring valentines to school (though we do share feelings in letters to our family and friends).

Birthdays are very special events, which give children a sense of themselves as growing individuals. While birthday parties, with all of their accessories, are not appropriate at the Child Development Center, acknowledging and celebrating a child's birthday are essential to promoting self-esteem.  Supervising Teachers should be sensitive to the individual child's comfort in being publicly recognized.  Birthday snacks should conform to the Child Development Center's policy on snacks.


Tuition is based upon a semester rate prorated evenly across 17 weeks of scheduled programming each semester, and split into 4 equal monthly payments.  Families are billed at the beginning of each month for their projected weekly enrollment.  Monthly bills are not reduced for absences or for holidays (exceptions being our semester break in December/January and our Spring break in March).

Bills are placed in each family's mail slot prior to the first day of each month.  They are due on the 1st and considered past due after the 10th of each month.  Payment is made at the Student Accounts Office in the 3200 Building on campus - either in person, by mail, or by telephone with a VISA or MasterCard credit card.  We cannot accept payments at the Child Development Center.  The mailing address is: MiraCosta College, One Barnard Drive, Oceanside CA  92056, ATTN: Student Accounts Office.  Please retain the receipts for your records.

Please Note: A late fee of $10.00 may be applied to bills paid after the 10th of each month.  Children will be dropped from the program and a hold will be placed on College course registration for non-payment of fees.  No cancellation of fees will be made except in the case of long-term illness of the child.  Parents must advise the Center, in writing, at least one week prior to dropping their child from the program, or billing will continue until written notice is received.